OSWEGO COUNTY – Disaster Preparedness Month is a great time to prepare for winter in Oswego County, and residents can do that by setting aside the supplies they might need now and becoming familiar with weather safety terms, suggests Dale A. Currier, director of the Oswego County Emergency Management Office.
“September is Disaster Preparedness Month,” Currier said. “Winter weather conditions can arrive early and hit Oswego County hard throughout the season. That’s why it makes sense to begin preparing today for the upcoming season and possible weather hazards that come with it. There are some simple, common-sense steps that individuals, families and businesses can take now to prepare for the winter months ahead.”
The first steps people can take are to review their family emergency plan, determine what supplies they should have stored to be prepared for any emergency, and be aware of local weather conditions by following local forecasts on their smart phones or computers, local television and radio stations and from the National Weather Service’s NOAA Weather Radio.
A primary concern during the winter months is the potential loss of heat, power, telephone service and a resulting shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day.
Residents are urged to use caution and read all directions when using alternate heating sources such as kerosene heaters, wood and pellet stoves and fireplaces.
Have proper ventilation.
And, in the event of a power outage, generators should only be operated outdoors.
“Have a professional check out your furnace, woodstove and chimney. Make certain they are in good working condition. And don’t forget to replace the batteries in your smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors,” Currier said. “It is also a good idea to make certain your snowblower is ready to go to work.”
Here’s a list of all items all residents and businesses should have available:
• Flashlight and extra batteries.
• Battery-powered portable radio or NOAA Weather Radio to receive emergency information. Have extra batteries. The radio will allow you to listen to weather forecasts, road conditions information, and other emergency broadcasts by local authorities.
• Three days’ supply of food. High-energy food, such as dried fruit or candy, and food requiring no cooking or refrigeration is best. Also, stock an emergency supply of bottled water, generally one gallon per person per day.
• A one-week supply of essential medicines and baby items.
• First aid kit and supplies.
• Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
• Fire extinguisher as well as and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test units regularly to ensure they are working properly.
“Winter is especially challenging for the elderly and physically handicapped,” Currier said. “Take the time to check in on your neighbor and lend them a helping hand.”
Also important for winter weather emergencies, motorists should have their family and business vehicles checked over before the snow flies and temperatures plummet.
“Have a mechanic check your tires, battery, anti-freeze, wipers and thermostat,” Currier said. “Make sure your tires will deliver the traction you’ll need in the snow. And you will also want to make sure you have emergency supplies aboard such as a shovel, flashlight and extra batteries, booster cables and possibly tire chains.
“Before going out on the road on wintry days, residents should listen to the local media reports for the latest road conditions,” Currier said. “Most importantly, motorists should think safety first and drive with extreme care during the winter. When severe weather is forecast, stay at home unless you absolutely have to drive. If you must go out, plan your stops, clean the vehicle completely of snow and ice, and always match your speed to road conditions.”
More information on emergency preparedness and winter weather tips is available from the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, 315/591-9150 or www.oswegocounty.com/emo